Despite state aid boost, teaching cuts loom in Oxford

OXFORD – The latest round of budget talks on the state level could mean the restoration of more than $400,000 in state education aid to Oxford schools for the 2009-10 academic year. But despite the potential relief this additional money could provide, it remains unclear what affect it would have, if any, on the 24 positions jeopardized by the current budget proposal.

“If what we hear is true, hopefully we’ll be able to anticipate an additional $401,000,” reported Superintendent Randy Squier to members of the Oxford school board at a special budget meeting held Monday night. “Generally speaking, that’s the same amount we are receiving this year.”

The restoration of state formula aid won’t be set in stone until a budget is passed in Albany, he explained, adding that he was “hoping to hear some real numbers from the state” later this week.

The money is derived from federal stimulus funds, which means “there could be strings attached,” according to the superintendent, but he does not expect this to prevent them from using the money as needed. “We’ll be creative if we have to,” he said.

With the promised infusion of funds, the district can begin to look at prioritizing what items should be added back into the budget. When Squier turned the discussion over to the school board, board president Robin DeBrita deferred back to the superintendent for his guidance in prioritizing what areas and positions were most important.

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